Strategy workshops: The fusing of the past and the future in the present
Paper in proceedings, 2013
This paper draws on empirical data from a longitudinal study of strategy management in a large Swedish construction company. We examine strategy-in-the-making at the micro level of discursive practice during a two-day strategy workshop with middle managers. We show how strategic sense-making is achieved through creating a coherent link between past and future, staged as a rehearsal in the present. This collective, informal strategising rehearsal provides middle managers with a liminal space, time and mediating tools to make sense of and appropriate the information and knowledge embedded in new strategies. We suggest that by conceptualising strategy workshops as ritual backstage rehearsals of future actions, managers may enhance the success of the intended strategy outcomes. Studying strategy-in-the-making at the micro-level contributes understanding of how actors avail themselves of institutional practices and mediating tools to construct meaning.